Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen accused the president of criminal acts and lying, as Republicans attacked the convicted felon’s credibility.
Who Are You Calling a Liar?
In his public testimony before Congress, Michael Cohen described a culture of rampant criminality and nonstop lying around President Trump, the man he once protected as a personal lawyer and “fixer.” He suggested that Trump had skirted or violated federal banking, tax and campaign finance laws, and he indicated that some of those actions already are under criminal investigation. On the other hand, he batted down several — how shall we say? — colorful allegations about Trump. But he issued a dark warning at the end: “Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 there will never be a peaceful transition of power.” The hearing, and its aftermath, reflected a sharp partisan divide: While Democrats seemed prepared to use the testimony as a road map to future investigations, Republicans continued to hammer away at the credibility of a man headed to prison, in part for lying. Trump’s response: He called the hearing “fake” and said Cohen “lied a lot.”
No Deal With North Korea
“Sometimes you have to walk.” That’s how Trump put it after his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un abruptly ended right before a planned working lunch and signing ceremony in Hanoi. The president says Kim offered to dismantle the sprawling Yongbyon nuclear complex in exchange for the complete removal of U.S. economic sanctions — “and we couldn’t do that.” The White House says talks will continue, though what happens next is unclear. But Kim, at the very least, has scored a victory by becoming a player on the global stage, something he and his forebears have long sought.
-- U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. side is “making real progress” in talks with China as he sparred with lawmakers over Trump’s authority to enact a trade agreement on his own.
-- A Senate committee has released a report highly critical of the Beijing-funded Confucius Institute, which operates centers at about 100 American universities.
It ‘Makes Me Angry, and Wonder’
Monyae Ikeyli Jackson was a football player. Teammates called him “Yoda,” because he was small, but quick and powerful. As he and three friends walked from a party on Mother’s Day last year, they were gunned down. Two survived. Monyae and La’marrion Upchurch, both 15, were killed. As the latest installment of The Times’ series on violence around L.A. schools shows, their deaths shook nearby campuses and left friends and family shattered.
Wine Country Becomes Flood Country
The Russian River in Sonoma County is prone to flooding. Even so, this week has been extraordinary. After heavy rains, the river, which sat at about 10 feet Monday morning, rose 34 feet over two days — well above flood stage. That prompted the evacuation of 3,600 people while officials declared a local emergency. As one owner of a bed and breakfast in Healdsburg said: “We have waterfront property now.”
Farms, OK. Solar Farms, Not So Much
California lawmakers want the state’s energy to come from 100% renewable sources by 2045, but local officials may put a damper on those plans. Case in point: Supervisors in San Bernardino County, the largest in the state, could vote today on a policy to prohibit large solar and wind projects on much of the unincorporated private land there. If those projects are allowed, residents worry they will destroy the area’s rural character.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
In 1957, the pages of the L.A. Times were abuzz with news of the Pinwheel, a rocket-powered, strap-on-the-back helicopter developed in Glendale. On Feb. 28 of that year, an article described how it had “carried a man more than 1,000 feet in the air and hit speeds up to 45 mph.” A demonstration at the San Fernando Valley Airport two months later said the contraption “took off around the airport like a giant dragonfly.” But in November 1957, The Times reported that the pilot suffered a broken leg and other injuries “after the Buck Rogers-type craft went out of control” and fell about 50 feet.
-- L.A. County juvenile detention centers saw a sharp increase in assaults on guards in recent years as the use of pepper spray rose.
-- Hundreds of inmates at the Terminal Island federal prison on the L.A. harbor front spent one of the coldest periods in decades in frigid cells with no heat and only blankets for warmth.
-- The mother of a gay black man who died in the West Hollywood home of Ed Buck has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the longtime Democratic donor. Buck’s attorney said in an email that he and his client “categorically deny each and every allegation.”
-- Authorities say a 30-year-old Sylmar man who was caught on video punching two women in the face last month at a downtown L.A. hot dog stand has been charged with five counts of battery.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Disney Imagineers are putting the finishing touches on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the 14-acre expansion coming to Disneyland early this summer. When it opens, it will reflect an interactive play sensibility.
-- In a TV special, Oprah Winfrey will sit down with the two men who allege they were sexually abused by Michael Jackson in the upcoming HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland.”
-- Fox has been hit with a $178.7-million judgment in its profit participation dispute with the team behind the hit series “Bones.” It could have widespread repercussions in the TV industry.
-- Members of the original cast of “Beverly Hills, 90210” are returning for a six-episode event series on Fox.
-- The Supreme Court faced its first church-state dispute after Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh joined the bench. It sounded ready to keep in place a nearly century-old cross that honors soldiers who died in World War I.
-- An operative in North Carolina‘s unresolved congressional race has been charged with obstruction and illegal ballot possession related to the 2016 and 2018 elections.
-- Pakistan’s prime minister called for talks with India and warned of miscalculations that could lead to war, hours after his nation’s air force claimed to have shot down two Indian warplanes and captured a pilot.
-- Authorities in Cairo say a fight between two train conductors unleashed a speeding, unmanned locomotive that slammed into a barrier and exploded in the Egyptian capital’s main train station, killing at least 25 people.
-- Iran‘s president has rejected the resignation of his foreign minister, throwing his full support behind the diplomat who negotiated the country’s nuclear deal.
-- The new limit on the state and local tax deduction will hit nearly 11 million taxpayers nationwide this year, according to a report by a Treasury Department inspector general.
-- For three years, Ambrosia charged $8,000 per liter of young people’s blood plasma. Its CEO proclaimed the procedure “comes pretty close” to immortality. Then the FDA weighed in.
-- Where will former Washington Nationals star and free agent Bryce Harper end up? Columnist Bill Plaschke says it ought to be with the Dodgers.
-- As the likes of USC and UCLA have struggled, tiny Pomona-Pitzer has big basketball dreams.
-- “Medicare for all” is popular, but it’s likely doomed to fail.
-- If the Grand Canyon had been our second national park, instead of becoming one much later, we might not have given the executive branch the sweeping powers over national monuments that presidents continue to abuse today.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- To rebut Cohen’s claim that Trump is racist, a Republican congressman invited a black, female Trump appointee to be at Cohen’s hearing. Her presence spurred a debate of its own. (New York Times)
-- Even in the 6.8-mile-deep Mariana Trench, the lowest point in any ocean, every tiny animal tested had plastic pollution hiding in its gut. (The Atlantic)
-- Author Jane Stern reminisces about the strange things she’s found in books, including a jaywalking ticket, to-do lists and Polaroids. (Paris Review)
ONLY IN L.A.
When Megan and Nicole McNamara hit the sand to play volleyball, you can be forgiven for seeing double. They’re identical twins, after all — both fleet of foot and 5 foot 9. At one point, there were doubts about whether they should split up. But together at UCLA, they’ve been dominant in beach volleyball. Their secret? Aside from being sisters, one is right-handed and the other a lefty.